Bold Journey rallies to take Fall Highweight

Friday, November 24th, 2023

Bold Journey flies late to win Friday’s Grade 3 Fall Highweight at Aqueduct. Susie Raisher/NYRA Photo.

Bold Journey, carrying the second lightest impost and only picking up three pounds from his last start, rallied from last to score his first stakes victory in Thursday’s Grade 3 Fall Highweight Handicap at Aqueduct.

The 2-1 second choice carrying 128 pounds, Bold Journey won by a length from 3-2 favorite Durante in the $194,000 stakes. Jose Ortiz rode the winner, a half-brother to New York-bred Horse of the Year and multiple divisional champion Americanrevolution, for trainer Bill Mott and owners Pantofel Stable, Wachtel Stable and Gary Barber

Bold Journey came into the Fall Highweight off a nose victory in an Oct. 12 open-company allowance-optional at 6 furlongs during the Belmont at the Big A meeting. Durante exited a win in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler in late October and Rotknee, the eventual third-place finisher, came in off a win in the Hudson Stakes on the Empire Showcase Day program.

That trio vied for favoritism and Durante took the initiative from the start after being hard sent to the lead under Manny Franco under top weight of 134 pounds.

Durante led Win for Gold, fourth in the Hudson Stakes and the 5-1 fourth choice, by a half-length through the opening quarter mile in :22.68 just ahead of Rotknee and Cowan. Bold Journey lagged more 6 lengths behind to that point.

“He likes to do that, especially when there’s a little bit of pace to help him,” said Ortiz, who rode Bold Journey last time out. “The last couple times we’ve been sitting at the back and making one run and it worked out for me both times. The horse is doing very good. Mr. Mott has him in great form.”

The positions remained the same around the far turn as Win for Gold ramped up the pressure on Durante approaching the half in :46.06. Bold Journey continued in fifth to that point and at the top of the stretch before Ortiz angled him out toward the center of the track in the straight to fly past the field less than 100 yards from the finish.

Bold Journey edged clear at the finish for his sixth win in 19 starts, picking up $110,000 for the win and boosting his bankroll to $486,243. Durante held second, 1 1/2 lengths in front of Rotknee under 130 pounds. Cowan and Win for Gold completed the field.

Ortiz liked how the race unfolded, especially when Rotknee and Dylan Davis weren’t in a usual spot of vying for the lead early.

“Rotknee didn’t break that well otherwise the pace would have been more aggressive,” Ortiz said. “Everything should have unfolded a bit easier for me, but Manny was able to clear him and unfortunately Dylan had to take a hold and that horse doesn’t like that, he likes to run free. I was a little nervous when I saw Dylan had to take a hold because I figured the pace wasn’t going to be as fast as I thought it could be. Approaching the quarter-pole, I was approaching the field nice and easy and when I asked him to go, he responded very well.”

Bold Journey, a half-brother to New York-bred Horse of the Year and incoming first-year stallion Americanrevolution, earns some love after his first stakes victory. Susie Raisher/NYRA Photo.

Bred by Fred Hertrich III and John Fielding and foaled at Waldorf Farm in North Chatham, Bold Journey is one of three winners out of the winning Super Saver mare Polly Freeze. Named New York-bred broodmare of the year in 2021, Polly Freeze produced the Kentucky-bred Wicked Strong mare Text Dont Call, won two of 16 starts and earned $42,109.

Americanrevolution, a son of Constitution and Polly Freeze’s second foal, earned New York-bred Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old honors in 2021 after a 5-for-6 season highlighted by victories in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap, Empire Classic Handicap and Albany Stakes. He recently retired to stand his first season in 2024 at Rockridge Stud in Hudson.

Polly Freeze’s fourth foal, the 3-year-old Collected filly Paleta, sold for $60,000 as a broodmare prospect at the recent Keeneland November breeding stock sale. Polly Freeze is also the dam of a yearling filly by Frosted that sold for $150,000 at the Keeneland September sale and a weanling colt by Constitution born March 18.

A $75,000 RNA at the 2020 Keeneland September yearling sale, Bold Journey later sold for $80,000 to McMahon & Hill Bloodstock, agent, at the 2021 OBS April sale. He won one of two starts at 2 before a second in the Gander Stakes in February 2022. Ninth in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes that March, Bold Journey didn’t return to stakes company until this past April when fifth in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap presented by NYRA Bets at Aqueduct.

The Fall Highweight marked Bold Journey’s fourth win in nine starts and he improved his 2023 earnings to $337,610.

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